Sunday, April 12, 2009
Having set up the scenario in Episode One, the quest for The Keys of Marinus gets underway in Episode 2, The Velvet Web. And it's this episode that really displays the faults of the story as a whole.
In this installment, the TARDIS crew arrive, are welcomed with open arms by the natives, one of the crew (in this case, Barbara) gets suspicious and seeks to find out more about the regime, gets caught, escapes, finds the answer, helps topple the regime, and everybody goes home happy. That sounds like your average four-part Doctor Who story, but this all happens in one episode! There is no hope for a script to properly develop the characters, the setting, the plot (some might consider that last one to be of at least mild importance), and so forth, and it's painfully obvious that this episode hasn't had the time to do that.
And then there's the budget. The Brains of Morphoton are not some of the best creatures in the programme's history, but they're "control room" is even worse, as the "walls" in the room are simply black drapes. There was nothing left in the tickle trunk for something as simple as walls! This is a testament, though, to how close to the line that first production team pushed things, even if it meant missing the mark the odd time. (We'll talk more about that in Season 2...)
At the end of the episode, another event occurs that would be quite foreign to New Series viewers. William Hartnell was slated to go on a two-week holiday after this episode, which meant The Doctor actually being written out of Episodes 3 and 4 of the story. Such a thing would have been almost unheard of today (until the "Doctor-lite" episodes cam along), but it was something that a programme that pumped out 40+ episodes a season had to do to keep its actors happy.
Posted by Steven at 12:32 AM